Between Sept. 2009 and Dec. 2010 we stressed over “trying”, experienced a miscarriage, tried again, had a somewhat difficult pregnancy, Evan was born early, he was in the NICU for his first week, and then had another week-long hospital stay a month later. Add to that Evan being a pretty fussy baby (even though, thank God, he sleeps well at night), that makes up a good percentage of our life span.
If there is a next pregnancy, things might go better, but there’s a better chance things will go worse. Because of my history, we might experience another miscarriage (or more), and there’s a higher chance the baby would come early and therefore may have health issues. Oh, and don’t forget that I’ll be older. Apparently that never helps. Yay biological clock.
I know some women who had a baby at the same time as I had Evan are already thinking or talking about having another child. They say they can just feel their family is not complete, that they know another baby is out there waiting to join their family.
DH and I do not feel this way at all. In fact, we feel so happy and complete with our current family that we just can’t fathom what it would be like to add another to the mix.
The Only Child Syndrome
So many people (who aren’t only children) love to say how awful it is to be an only child. “They have no one to play with”, they say. Or, “It’s so nice to have more than one child when you go on vacations so they can keep each other company.”
First of all – I think my brother and I got along for a grand total of 2 months, 1 week, and 3.5 days of our childhood. Yes, we could be forced to get along on vacations. But, the majority of the time we either fought or ignored each other. And we were pretty good with each other compared to others (DH and his sister used to get into serious physical altercations sometimes involving flying pogo sticks).
Second of all – anytime I ask an only child if they felt like they missed out on having a sibling, most say no. We asked a friend of ours the other day about it, and he said he’s starting to realize now that it might have been okay because then he won’t be solely responsible for his parents when they’re old and decrepit. Most of them are interesting, well-adjusted members of society – or at least the ratios of normalcy don’t seem to be any less than those with siblings.
I don’t think wanting Evan to have a buddy on vacations is a good enough reason to have another child. If that’s the only reason, he can bring a friend. At least that way he gets to choose his companion.
Granted, if my parents felt this way, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.
Our Needs & Wants
DH and I have hobbies, and there are things in life we would like to do. Right now we have the time, energy, and money to make sure all three of us have a very good life. If we add another child, sacrifices will have to be made, and you can bet your ass it wouldn’t be Evan’s needs or wants on the chopping block. This is an important consideration that I don’t think too many people think about. Some people call it selfish, but we don’t want to be a martyr to our child(ren). Our happiness counts for something too.
Even though it’s sad at times to see Evan grow up so quickly, we are fascinated by the changes. It’s amazing to watch him experience and learn new things daily – to go through the stages of life. This might sound really strange (perhaps two Physics PhD’s can be a bit on the analytical side), but we feel like having another child is like moving backwards. All of a sudden you have to go back to “trying”, go back to being pregnant, go back to the newborn stage, etc. etc.. It seems like life would be in a rewind or repeat mode.
Well, I think it’s pretty obvious from the above what we’re thinking right now! But, one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 32 years on this planet (well, as of this Wednesday – YAY for my birthday!) is to never say never. Because I would like to have my childbearing days behind me by 35, we’re going to wait until summer/fall 2012 to revisit things.
How did you decide to not have children, stop after one, or to have more? I would love to hear your thoughts!